Pobble News

How to train your pupils to write


by Henry Smith
on February 7, 2018

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Bett 2018 is something that I will remember when I’m grey and old. It was years of hard work, passion and persistence in the making.

Commonly referred to the ‘The Oscars of the education world’, if you told me a few years ago that one day we would win a prestigious Bett Award for ‘Best Classroom Aid for Teaching, Learning and Assessment’, I wouldn’t have believed you. No chance. However, even less believable was what happened next: I represented Pobble in the main arena alongside Big Writing creator Ros Wilson, extraordinary head teacher Chris Dyson and award-winning author Piers Torday.

We, and we alone, were selected as part of the Bett Call for Content, which was introduced this year and has attracted over 400 submissions. ‘Honoured’ is not a strong enough word, however there was no time for sentimentality. We had serious business to attend to in front of a huge audience, all wanting to know: How To Train Your Writers.

You see, as an experienced teacher and school leader, it has always been apparent to me that children often aren’t passionate about writing. This is a common problem area for schools. It’s my mission and desire to change that though Pobble. On the stage, the four of us discussed how to spark a love of writing in young people, through creativity and purpose. I will never forget it.


I asked them, ‘What is your advice for the audience – teachers and budding authors?’ Because we know that our fellow teachers are busy people we’ve rounded up the key nuggets of advice and words of wisdom from our fabulous panel:

Ros advice

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Chris Advice

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Piers advice

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Henry advice

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Henry Smith is an experienced Year 6 Teacher and English leader. He has spent the largest part of his life inspiring children to take up their pencils and write. As an English teacher in rural India, a literacy coordinator at his school in Leeds and as a co-founder of Pobble, his goal hasn’t changed much: to make writing ridiculously exciting.

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